Another season of animal cruelty begins today
The NSW Government today commenced another cruel season of shooting our native flying-foxes despite being told it is unacceptable by its own expert panel. The Government has published a “Standard Operating Procedure” for farmers to comply with during shooting which pretends and fails to deal with the cruelty involved. Licences to shoot the protected threatened species are expected to be issued from today.
The licenses are given to stone fruit growers to shoot and maim approximately a thousand grey-headed flying-foxes a year.
An expert review panel told the Environment Minister earlier this year that the animal welfare issues arising from shooting flying-foxes are ‘unacceptable ethically and legally’, giving the Government ample time to enact a new policy and provide financial assistance to farmers for nets. Welfare groups and farmers themselves are worried shooting flying foxes will lead to offences being committed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
“The NSW Government is knowingly sanctioning another season of animal cruelty, despite expert analysis that this is legally unacceptable,” said Alexia Wellbelove of Humane Society International. “The victims of this shooting are important breeding females from the population, leaving behind their orphaned young to face a slow death from hunger and thirst. An immediate ban on the shooting of flying-foxes is the only way to avoid cruelty. The Government must now publicly commit to an end date for the shooting of flying-foxes.”
The shooting commences just as these flying-foxes have started giving birth. An immediate ban on shooting is required given the threat facing our flying-foxes, including the likely extinction of some species before the end of this century unless the current population decline is arrested. In what should be a warning to NSW, another member of the bat family, the Christmas Island Pipistrelle, was found to be close to extinction this year.